You Need More Than A Sense of Purpose

You Need More Than A Sense of Purpose

A student raised his hand and asked me a fair question yesterday. He wanted to know when I was going to teach a certain set of vocabulary. I explained to him that I don’t teach that until the third year. No big deal, except the encounter was a crocodile death roll to my sense of confidence.

So easily derailed.

The thing with writing curriculum is that it largely has been driven by my own preferences and opinions about what is important and in which order content should be presented, so a little bit of criticism feels like a hit to me.

But life purpose is different. It is not driven by my own preferences and my own opinions about what is important. Life purpose has been defined for me by God.

That’s why I recently took my Growth Book with me, on my 12-hour drive to my mom’s house in Wyoming. My purpose had been feeling muddy lately, but the approach to clarifying it was extremely different than my approach to clarifying whether my curriculum was on the right track.

What did God have to say about who he has been shaping me to be and what he has been shaping me to do? I needed his external communication to define where my life is going.

So I spent a total of 24 hours praying and thinking and listening. I listened to sermons and testimonies of Christians. I listened to worship music. But in between those things I let the car be quiet. No podcasts. No music. Lots and lots of quiet. Just me and Jesus in conversation. At the beginning of the trip, I said, “Lord, am I doing what you want me to do in this life?” At the gas station stops (which were frequent because there was no man in the car to be unhappy about it), I opened my journal and wrote down what God was saying to me.

He reminded me of Jesus’ words to his disciples -words that always makes my eyes light up:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  (Matthew 28:19-20a  NIV)

Make disciples and teach them to obey.

That is my jam.

I started to write down all of the ways, big and small, in which God has led me to help make disciples and then teach them how to obey. (There were a lot more small ways than big ways.) Gas station after gas station. Town after town. Layers upon layers of seeing what God has shaped me to do.

These actions go in a certain direction –always toward communicating with people about who God is. God wants new disciples, and these disciples need teaching. Seeing this fact in print lights up the path in front of me, maybe not with specific details but with a way to go, a way to continue.

Having a sense of something means you have a feeling about it. I have a sense that my Spanish curriculum is good. But please, we need more than a “sense” of purpose for our lives. Feelings can be bullied. We need Bible truth that fits us like a glove, to give us a compact, sturdy path on which to walk.

Is there a verse of instruction in the Bible that makes you lean forward? A verse that makes your eyes light up and brings up a “Yes. That!” from your throat? Maybe for you it’s a verse about hospitality or helping the needy or working quietly at home. I hope you’ll write down verses like that and let them be your go-to words of God, when you feel derailed and find yourself asking if your daily activities have meaning and direction. Find your solid purpose within the life instructions of the Bible.


  1. Thank you for this reminder to cling to truth especially because feelings get bullied. I also love the idea of claiming verses that specifically spark joy of purpose. I cling to verses as a salve for my weary heart and soul but (lately) not so much for purpose. You are amazing; I am always so thankful for you.

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